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G&D intended fate

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Posted by Road Foreman of Engines on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 3:59 PM

" Eye of the Beholder" is the rule for art, and the G& D was pure art! It went far beyond tracks on benchwork, and became something else altogether; the ultimate expression of the builder! It's a feeling, a mood, a complete miniature world. We all should be so lucky....

 And yes, there was a bit of whimsy in 1960's model railroading. When and why have we become so serious?

Paul

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Posted by NorthBrit on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 11:39 AM

[quote user="MJ4562"]

It's actually an early example of a multi-deck track plan.  The G&D used floor to ceiling mountain scenery to create multiple decks without the unsightly benchwork. You have to view the layout in 3D to see this.

 quote.

 

 

And that is what 'blew my mind' when  I saw the pictures all that time ago.

 

__________________

Here is a model railway that was saved and can be seen at Pendon Museum, U.K..

Built in and around 1930s/1940s,  Madder Valley Railway by John Ahearn.  A layout often featured in railway magazines here.   An absolute joy to see and running to this day.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6kUFlpj3sw&ab_channel=PENDONMUSEUM

 

David

 

 

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

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Posted by MJ4562 on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 11:19 AM

It's actually an early example of a multi-deck track plan.  The G&D used floor to ceiling mountain scenery to create multiple decks without the unsightly benchwork. You have to view the layout in 3D to see this.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 10:34 AM

I guess the GD could qualify as a 'spaghetti bowl', especially if viewed in a 2-D track plan, but to me that would be more a layout with a mainline like a twice around (or 3-times around) on a 4x8 sheet of plywood. With the GD line the various lines were often separated by quite a difference in height, going through tunnels, and by amazing scenery. 

7faf71782adee8faa0a5afb994bd4e0a--model-trains.jpg (736×500) (pinimg.com)

 

Stix
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Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, May 22, 2023 12:16 PM

Road Foreman of Engines

I don't know, but  I suspect that John Allen did not have an Estate Plan, which would consist of the Will, Living Trust, and Power of Attorney. With these, he could then specify what is to become of the layout, and who is in charge to handle it. In fact, it's a good idea for anyone, especially as we get older, and tend to accumulate things. The original question is the intended fate of the railroad. It sounds like it was never spelled out.

 

Paul

 

Tell me about it. My older sister passed away this past January and named me her executor. I had resisted accepting that position for years but when she was literally on her death bed when she asked me again, it was hard to say no. I had done it for both my parents and knew what a hassle it is. Making it harder is that she lived in Pennsylvania and I live in Ohio. To make matters worse, she was a horder meaning there was a lot of personal property to dispose of. Some we persuaded her to give away to her friends before she passed but there was still an awful lot. Some of it was useful but a lot went into the dumpster. It seems just about every day there is something that has to be dealt with. Here we are four months later and we still haven't got the house in condition to sell it. 

My advice to anyone who is asked to be someone's executor is to give a one word reply. NNNNNOOOOO!!! I wish I had taken my own advice. 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, May 22, 2023 12:08 PM

Tin Can II

 

 
BEAUSABRE

I'm not a worshipper of the G&D. Too much of a characterture for my taste. Give Allan McClelland's V&O. (And yes, every model rr is a characterture, but the G&D was too extreme for me - too cutesy, I guess)

 

 

 
Ditto.  Too much of a spaghetti bowl look for my tastes.  
 



Spaghetti bowls were the norm when the G&D was designed. Layouts were designed so that trains would pass through the same seen multiple times while traveling the length of the mainline. Allen McClelland came along a little later with a different philosophy for the V&O, having trains pass through a scene only once, creating the feeling of going somewhere. Both approaches have the advantages and disadvantages. Operations are still possible on spaghetti bowl layouts and linear layouts can still present great photo ops. It's a question of emphasis.

I adopted the Allen McClelland approach on my current layout and haven't regretted it. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate great artistic layouts like the G&D.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, May 22, 2023 11:59 AM

The little Dockside switcher was able to be restored recently....

(128) Gorre & Daphetid #9 on DGR&N - YouTube

 

Stix
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Posted by dknelson on Monday, May 22, 2023 11:28 AM

SeeYou190
A spaghetti bowl with 1,000 possible photo locations.

Exactly - a layout built for operations and for photography, and both of those priorities tend to result in track arrangements that are not to all tastes.  

Photos of the layout while under construction show how it was really built into the place and was clearly never meant to be moved.  Saddest of all perhaps is that John Allen indicated he was getting very close to being finished with the layout and that some long deferred photography projects were on hold until it was completed.  He knew it was a race against time due to his heart.  

It turned out that there were aspects to the story that even Linn Westcott did not know when he wrote his book, such as that John Allen's brother allowed some neighbor boys to help themselves to anything they could find on the layout's charred  remains.  Only in recent years did those remnants get gathered, donated to the NMRA and in some cases auctioned off to raise money for the NMRA.  At least one locomotive was put back into operating condition (so the 2-10-0 that Andy Sperandeo had at the Model Railroader offices is not the only surviving G&D locomotive any more) and there were hopes of similar recovery for at least one other badly damaged but possibly salvagable engine.

What I recall also is that after Kalmbach let Linn Westcott's book on John Allen go out of print, MicroMark bought the rights and actually added some of the subsequent history into an enlarged audition.  So if the story really interests you, even if you own the Kalmbach original you might want to check out the Micro Mark edition, as well as the issues of the NMRA magazine that had Charlie Getz's articles on the surviving artifacts that were more recently discovered and acquired by the NMRA

Dave Nelson

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, May 22, 2023 10:56 AM

Tin Can II
Too much of a spaghetti bowl look for my tastes.

A spaghetti bowl with 1,000 possible photo locations.

I like the look of crowded tracks and detailed scenes. I model trains, not the country side. The trains are the stars, the rest is just a supporting cast and a photo set.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

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Posted by n012944 on Monday, May 22, 2023 10:52 AM

Tin Can II

 

 
BEAUSABRE

I'm not a worshipper of the G&D. Too much of a characterture for my taste. Give Allan McClelland's V&O. (And yes, every model rr is a characterture, but the G&D was too extreme for me - too cutesy, I guess)

 

 

 
Ditto.  Too much of a spaghetti bowl look for my tastes.  
 

 

Agree, although it did seem to represent the times.  Until the Midwest Railroad Modelers Club in Batavia IL gained fame in MR, many modeler had the goal to jam as much track onto a layout as possible.  

 

Thankfully the hobby has gotten away from that practice.

An "expensive model collector"

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, May 22, 2023 10:36 AM

BEAUSABRE
I'm not a worshipper of the G&D.

It is not for everyone, but I love it, and I love the Franklin And South Manchester as well.

If I want to see realism I can go on a road trip and get all I can stand. I like model trains with some whimsy and a helping of nonsense please.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, May 22, 2023 9:21 AM

jjdamnit
John Allen knew he was "living on borrowed time" since his diagnosis of a heart condition that prevented him from entering U.S. Army service. Apparently, that's why he attended art school- -U.C.L.A.- -I believe.

He attended UCLA in the 1930s, before the war, so there was no connection. Per the Westcott book, he was very disappointed at not being allowed to serve in some capacity (like working with interpreting aerial photography - remember he was a professional photographer). 

As far as I know, he didn't leave anything in a will etc. regarding what to do with the layout. It may be he didn't think about it that much. Although he knew he had a heart condition, at 59 he may have figured he had plenty of time ahead of him.

Seems very unlikely he had some bizarre plan to have the house burned down after he died to destroy the layout, since it would have meant his relatives would not have been able to sell the house and get the money from the sale.

Stix
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Posted by Tin Can II on Monday, May 22, 2023 9:10 AM

BEAUSABRE

I'm not a worshipper of the G&D. Too much of a characterture for my taste. Give Allan McClelland's V&O. (And yes, every model rr is a characterture, but the G&D was too extreme for me - too cutesy, I guess)

 

 
Ditto.  Too much of a spaghetti bowl look for my tastes.  
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Posted by betamax on Monday, May 22, 2023 8:22 AM

There was an attempt to salvage what remained after the fire, but after much effort that section of the layout collapsed. It wasn't really meant to be dismantled and moved.

The furnace in question was never used while John Allen was alive. After the last operating session, someone turned it on, thinking the house should be kept warm. Since Allen had covered it, the furnace got hot enough to set the material on it alight.

There are pictures of the burnt house, showing the damage, available on the web.

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Sunday, May 21, 2023 4:39 PM

I'm not a worshipper of the G&D. Too much of a characterture for my taste. Give Allan McClelland's V&O. (And yes, every model rr is a characterture, but the G&D was too extreme for me - too cutesy, I guess)

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Posted by MJ4562 on Sunday, May 21, 2023 10:27 AM

There was an article in MRR awhile back discussing this topic.  A conversation between John Allen and another modeler was brought up.  In summary, John fully expected his layout would not survive his passing and accepted that.  I think the editorial appeared in MRR around the time the V&O was being dismantled.

The layout was not built with the intention of being moved so even without the fire it probably would have been dismantled anyway.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, May 21, 2023 9:22 AM

It is highly unlikely a large model railroad is going to survive its owner for very long unless it is portable or a family member wants to move into the house the railroad is located in. If the house is going to be put on the market, it is going to be very difficult to sell the railroad with the house. Model railroaders are just too small a percentage of the population to do that. It would greatly restrict the number of potential buyers of the house. Allen McClelland attempted to do that with his Virginian and Ohio without success and so the V&O had to be dismantled when Allen decided to downsize. He began a new V&O in his new house but I don't know how far along he got on it before moving into a retirement center.

I've left instructions in my will for the locos, rolling stock, structures, and electrical components to be sold off but the railroad itself will be demolished. Some if the track might be salvageable too but that will be somebody else's call.

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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, May 21, 2023 8:45 AM

Living trust used to be thought of as something for the rich, this has changed over time as the tax man got greedy and things became more complicated and also the expanding middle class.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Saturday, May 20, 2023 3:26 PM

Hello All,

Road Foreman of Engines
...which would consist of the Will, Living Trust, and Power of Attorney. With these, he could then specify what is to become of the layout, and who is in charge to handle it.

None of that would have prevented his relative from turning on the faulty furnace that caused the fire that damaged the G&D.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by Road Foreman of Engines on Saturday, May 20, 2023 10:28 AM

I don't know, but  I suspect that John Allen did not have an Estate Plan, which would consist of the Will, Living Trust, and Power of Attorney. With these, he could then specify what is to become of the layout, and who is in charge to handle it. In fact, it's a good idea for anyone, especially as we get older, and tend to accumulate things. The original question is the intended fate of the railroad. It sounds like it was never spelled out.

 

Paul

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, May 20, 2023 7:13 AM

There is a short video out there about this railroad also. A few items did survive the fire.

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Posted by NorthBrit on Saturday, May 20, 2023 5:44 AM

It must have been 1970s or (most probably)  1980s  when I first heard of the G. & D..  An article with a couple of pictures was in a U.K.   model railway magazine.   It was the first time I had ever seen a (what seemed)  a floor to ceiling layout.

 

I have a copy of 'Model Railroading With John Allen' by Lynn Westcott.  As mentioned it is a great addition to any model railroad library.

A tragedy such a fine layout to be lost in such a way.

 

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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Posted by jjdamnit on Friday, May 19, 2023 6:27 PM

Hello All,

Road Foreman of Engines
I can't speak for the intended fate of the railroad, but sometimes people pass unexpectedly without an estate plan. Conjecture on my part, please forgive...
Unless someone has a better explanation?

John Allen knew he was "living on borrowed time" since his diagnosis of a heart condition that prevented him from entering U.S. Army service.

His background in photography propelled him into model railroading.

From the accounts of his neighbors; who were allowed to "Take anything they want(ed)" after the tragic fire, his family apparently didn't appreciate the significance of his work.

An estate plan wouldn't have prevented the fire- -unless he'd posted a note in the house, "DON'T TURN ON THE FURNACE!!!"

That fire propelled his layout into mythical status.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by dbduck on Friday, May 19, 2023 6:20 PM

 

crossthedog
...in my head I've been pronouncing it "Gor and DAFF-uh-tid."

 

It's actually "Gory and Defeated."

The book "Model Railroading With John Allen" by Lynn Wescott, is a classic and still comes up on auction websites occasionally.

It aint cheap, but it's a great addition to any model railroad library- -no matter the scale.

Hope this helps.

 

[/quote]

I haven't checked it out in about 10 years but our local library system did have a copy available to be checked out

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Posted by Road Foreman of Engines on Friday, May 19, 2023 5:06 PM

I can't speak for the intended fate of the railroad, but sometimes people pass unexpectedly without an estate plan. Conjecture on my part, please forgive...

Unless someone has a better explanation?

Paul

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Posted by jjdamnit on Friday, May 19, 2023 4:19 PM

Hello All,

crossthedog
...in my head I've been pronouncing it "Gor and DAFF-uh-tid."

It's actually "Gory and Defeated."

The book "Model Railroading With John Allen" by Lynn Wescott, is a classic and still comes up on auction websites occasionally.

It aint cheap, but it's a great addition to any model railroad library- -no matter the scale.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by KBCpresident on Friday, May 19, 2023 3:54 PM

Road Foreman of Engines

The Gorre and Daphetid was one of the all time greats. The GOAT....

in years since, the level of detail has been surpassed, but what is important is that John Allen showed what could be possible. I still have the January '69 issue of MR, which featured the G&D, and refer back to it occasionally. At the time, no one had seen anything like it. Mind blowing....

Paul

 

It may well no Longer be state of the art but it is still pretty remarkable. would have made one heck of a model train layout. So his final wish was for it to be preserved? 
what were they planning on doing with the rest of the house? 

The Beaverton, Fanno Creek & Bull Mountain Railroad

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Posted by crossthedog on Friday, May 19, 2023 11:15 AM

Wow. I had no idea until just now that the Gorre & Daphetid was not an actual historical railroad. While trawling through eBay I have often seen HO scale cars of the G&D for sale. Assumed they were manufactured by Roundhouse or Athearn or whomever because it was a prototype railroad.

Just did some researched and learned the real story. And in my head I've been pronouncing it "Gor and DAFF-uh-tid."

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by Road Foreman of Engines on Friday, May 19, 2023 9:48 AM

The Gorre and Daphetid was one of the all time greats. The GOAT....

in years since, the level of detail has been surpassed, but what is important is that John Allen showed what could be possible. I still have the January '69 issue of MR, which featured the G&D, and refer back to it occasionally. At the time, no one had seen anything like it. Mind blowing....

Paul

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